Deputy Chief Magistrate, Elijah Makomo has ruled that he is the neutral ground in the matter of former health minister following an application by his defense counsel to have the matter referred to the High Court for review after ‘conflicting’ notes were produced from evidence led in court.
Dr Parirentatwa who is represented by James Makina and Deepak Mehta had made an application to have the court’s record availed to them for purposes of checking if they had captured the same testimony from Dr George Washaya who is a former board member for NatPham, for cross examination.
Washaya exonerated Dr Parirenyatwa.
The supervisor for all recorders and transcribers, Constantine Masango testified in court to the effect that the audio recordings from that specific witness were inaudible and the court had been forced to only rely on Makomo’s notes which are allegedly differing from those obtained by the defense counsel.
Masango said it was almost impossible to transcribe the audio recording as there was a lot of noise around it drowning the testimony but he said he would need a month at most to try and decode the recordings.
Mehta sought to have the court grant Masango a chance to transcribe the audio to clearly show what Washaya said but Makomo said this had nothing to do with the application.
In his ruling he dismissed the application to have the matter reviewed by the High Court to show that Dr Parirenyatwa was not being prejudiced by the magistrate on the grounds that the defense was making mountains out of mould hills.
He also indicated that he was neither seeking to acquit nor exonerate Parirenyatwa as he is neutral in the matter and the only differences which could probably be noted from his handwritten notes and those of the defense were of wording as he only noted down where merits were being exhibited in the testimony.
The former Health and Child Care minister is facing charges of criminal abuse of office after having allegedly gave NatPham an order to hire Newman Madzikwa as its director.
When Dr Washaya testified, the court heard that the ex-health minister had not committed a criminal offense by suggesting Newman Madzikwa’s hiring.
“As NatPharm board, we discovered that Mrs Sifeku was being overwhelmed with work. Stock levels of drugs continued to shrink, and she would take too long to procure medicines,” he said.
“There was an outcry from the whole country because of her inability. For example, early last year, urgent action was needed to procure drugs during the first quarter of the year, but she only managed to do so in the second quarter.
“The former minister had done a lot of things which benefited NatPharm and we would never take his move to appoint Madzikwa as a wrong one.
“For example, he (Parirenyatwa) facilitated a $26 million fund to secure NatParm debt and helped us with sourcing land to build very big warehouses at Harare central hospital as well as in Masvingo and Mutare”
following a request by the defense to have the record transcribed.
Dr Washaya will be cross examined tomorrow.
Brian Vito is prosecuting.